The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to celebrate in Austin is by visiting the city’s 54th Annual Trail of Lights. From December 10-23, 2018, Zilker Park transforms into a winter wonderland as it's lit up by more than 40 displays and nearly two million dazzling lights. This year, the Trail of Lights will welcome local food trucks, nightly entertainment and family-friendly holiday activities. Find out how and when to visit the Trail this season.

Tunnel of lights at Austin Trail of Lights
Courtesy of the Trail of Lights Foundation.

Event Info

First opening in 1965 as the Yule Fest, the Trail of Lights has expanded and evolved throughout the years to become the well loved, community-wide celebration that it is today. More than 300,000 people enjoy the event each year, and everyone can take part in this Austin tradition by visiting for free on select nights. Some events to mark on your calendar are the official Grand Opening on December 10, Heroes Night on December 11, The Polar Express Movie Night on December 13 and U.T. Night on December 16.

Parking, shuttles, rideshare pick up/drop off, bike racks and nearby bus routes will be available. Find full transportation information on the Trail of Lights website.

Food, Vendors & Music

Along with the beautiful lights and displays, make sure to check out some of the delicious food, shopping and live entertainment throughout the grounds. Find local food vendors such as Burro Cheese Kitchen, Crepe Crazy, Southside Flying Pizza, Amy's Ice Creams and so much more. Stop by the Holiday Market to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs from local makers and artists, roast s'mores at Zilker Village, and enjoy plenty of live music. Every night will be filled with lively music and fun. You won't want to miss local acts like Tameca Jones, Tomar & the FCsLos Coast, Greyhounds and more!

Zilker Tree at the Austin Trail of Lights
Zilker Tree. Credit Dear Wesleyann Photography.

What To Do Nearby

If you want to grab a bite before hitting the trail, Barton Springs Road has plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Check out Shady Grove for their inviting patio and well-rounded menu. If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, you’re in luck – the original Chuy’s (an Austin staple) is located just down the road. Going with a big group and can’t settle on one place? The Picnic, Barton Spring Road’s largest food truck park, has options for everyone.  

This fun-filled fest has something for the whole family and truly completes the holiday season in Austin. Make sure to visit the trail before it's gone for the year!

Contributed by Rowen Gregorcyk-Landrey, Visit Austin Marketing Communications Intern.